Who’s Who in Wellesley Sustainability
Occasionally people wonder exactly who we are and how we see our role, so here’s a small backgrounder on us and who does what in the Town of Wellesley on ‘green’ and sustainability issues. As the Town is currently reconsidering its entire structure it is important to understand all the players.
Sustainable Wellesley is a group of volunteers (NOT part of the Town government), founded in 2008 by Scott Bender of Ivy Road, under the name of “The Power of One”. Over the years we have grown significantly, changed our name to Sustainable Wellesley, and created dozens of events and campaigns including; Festivals, movie nights, lectures, workshops, panel discussions, campaigns, outreach, and we even took 100 locals to New York to stand for climate action.
We are run by a Board of five volunteers: Scott Bender, Jeff Novins, Lise Olney, Quentin Prideaux, and Phyllis Theermann. We have over 1,000 members, and are also the parent group for Wellesley Green Schools. We hope to make an announcement soon about our application for 501©3 status.
Our Mission is:
To engage the residents, businesses, and the Town of Wellesley in the actions required for sustainability.
To learn more visit www.SustainableWellesley.com.
Wellesley is blessed with dozens of volunteer green, conservation, and health groups, including:
- Friends of Brookside
- Friends of Morses Pond
- Friends of The North 40
- Friends of Recycling
- League of Women Voters
- Shoppers Corner
- Wellesley Birding
- Wellesley Cancer Prevention Project
- Wellesley Farmers’ Market
- Babson Energy & Environmental Club
- Wellesley [College] Energy and Environmental Defense
- And many faith-based green groups
All of these bodies, along with Sustainable Wellesley meet periodically under the banner of the “Green Collaborative”. There are, happily, far too many groups to describe here, and you can learn more with links to all of the groups here: http://www.sustainablewellesley.com/wellesleys-environmental-organizations/
We hope you will join at least one or two of them.
The Town of Wellesley has two groups who are primarily concerned with Sustainability issues:
- Natural Resources Commission (NRC)
- Trails Committee
- Wetlands Protection Commission
- Sustainable Energy Committee (SEC)
Natural Resources Commission (NRC)
Mission: “to provide stewardship of, education about, and advocacy for the Town of Wellesley’s park, conservation, recreation and open space system so that the full value of the Town’s natural assets can be passed onto future generations.”
Since 1979 the NRC has held the statutory authority of Park Commissions, Conservation Commissions, Tree Wardens, Town Forest Committees, and Forestry and Pest Control Officers.
The NRC appoints the Wetlands Protection Committee (referred to as “Conservation Commission” in other towns), a five-member board with the authority to administer and enforce the Massachusetts Wetlands Protection Act, the Wellesley Wetlands Protection Bylaw, the Endangered Species Act, Scenic Rivers Act, Massachusetts Environmental Policy Act, and dozens of others. Much of the unique character of Wellesley is due to the work of the NRC over the decades, and they work to ensure that development continues to maintain and promote the natural strengths of our Town. We will give more background in a later post.
Sustainable Energy Committee (SEC)
The SEC Board consists of one appointee each from: The Board of Selectmen, the Municipal Light Board and the School Committee; the Board of Selectmen appoint two more members from residents active in the Town’s sustainable energy initiatives, or others who bring relevant expertise.
The Committee prepares an annual Town-wide emissions inventory and proposes goals to reduce Town greenhouse gas emissions from the municipal, residential, commercial, industrial and institutional sectors. The Committee works with municipal departments, businesses, institutions, and civic and volunteer organizations to achieve these goals. Many programs have been created and executed and we will cover this in more detail in a later post.